2021 – the year of ‘everything’ in Suffolk

If you subscribe to our newsletter you’ll see that, like the rest of the world, we have had a rethink. We still believe short films are the future, which is why we are moving the Suffolk Shorts first event to 8th, 9th and 10th, October 2021. We took counsel, did research, talked constantly and remotely, then Rachel and Claire held a respectfully distant extraordinary general meeting in their favourite place to make the final call.

“Time and attention are our greatest assets. This is our moment of perimeterless vision, a moment to use our assets wisely”

As Ryan Gander puts it so eloquently, now is the time to consider our assets. In fact all our judges and supporters have responded with the understanding we’d expect and the team is unanimous. Although we’ve held small events and taken part in First Light Festival, the three days event is a first for us. We want to make sure we get it right for everyone concerned, especially the filmmakers. Filmmaker and Suffolk Shorts judge Bill Jackson sees things from both sides.

“Suffolk Shorts have made the right decision not to go ahead for 2020 but it will be there in 2021. As a submitter and a participant in other festivals this year it is very disappointing, but I support any festival that puts its staff,  filmmakers and audience safety first. Ever onwards. Ever forwards.”

Back to the Future film still "Pick any year, it doesn't matter, just don't enter 2020"

Staying safe, staying open

Inboxes have been full of messages about the difficult decisions that people are having to make as a result of the pandemic. For Suffolk Shorts delaying the launch event wasn’t a difficult decision, and we consider ourselves very lucky. We are all dealing with changed circumstances, whether it’s “growing and developing creatively as a working parent” (Carla MacKinnon), or having to develop new skills, reassess your priorities and collaborate in new ways.

We don’t want to hold our first Suffolk Shorts festival in the shadow of the pandemic. Well established festivals can take their offering online, secure in the knowledge that their audience knows what to expect. Suffolk Shorts was never going to be an online festival. One of our main aims is to bring short films to Suffolk and encourage filmmaking here, so this is where we will launch. Executive Producer and Suffolk Shorts judge Tracey Gardiner has confidence this is the right decision:

“Suffolk film makers, lovers of short films and creative people need this festival and most certainly will need it more than ever next year.”

The Year of Everything

Of course no one can see into the future, but we are hugely encouraged by the standard of submissions so far, and our screening panel has been really active (and vocal) about the films. So rather than closing for regular submissions on June 20th we will remain open until May next year. Creative organisations and festivals in Suffolk are now working towards making 2021 a year to remember. Jayne Knight, Suffolk’s Arts Development Manager is fully behind us all.

“2021 is going to be the year of ‘everything’ in Suffolk. Everything we have missed, everything that we love and everything that we want to share with each other.”

What is the ‘New Normal’ for The Arts?

Whilst the relaxation of lockdown begins in the UK and most of Europe there is still a great deal that will not be able to return to normal for some time, if ever, hence the constant use of ‘New Normal’. This mercurial status may be good for culture in the long run. Uncertain times stimulate creativity and we are forced to look at different ways to bring the arts to a new audience. 

The challenge has been taken up worldwide, and collaboration online is flourishing. Some of our team are already taking part in projects established by artists and filmmakers, inviting contributions that will be brought together to create new works or simply curated and shared. Last weekend a group that regularly stages a night time exhibition in Suffolk of installation, sculpture and film invited anyone to contribute to Lockdown and Light. The results were shared on Instagram @lockdownandlight 

Car parks are the new place to be as drive-ins are springing up for music, film and prayer. Forums are buzzing, competitions for filmmakers are still taking entries, and festivals are going online. Here’s our pick of the month:

We are one film still

We Are One: A Global Film Festival. 

You still have a few days of digital programming left from 21 major film festivals across the world – including the BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express.

A Global Film Festival is a free online festival, exclusively on YouTube, born out of the idea that the film community can come together in times of crises – both in celebration of films and in support by providing much needed relief for COVID-19 efforts.

There’s still time to enter the EAFA Mash Up Competition  Each year brings a new theme, and this year the theme is ‘Home’.  They decided upon the theme some months ago, but now seems particularly pertinent.  

Paus film festival

Paus TV

Suffolk Shorts judge David Morrissey has joined the panel for a new film competition and their new streaming service is now online. paus, launched its Lockdown Liberation competition at the end of May, inviting filmmakers around the world to submit any film (up to five minutes long) made during lockdown that meets the brief ‘Lockdown and the New World’.  

Submissions will be judged on their originality and creativity in interpreting the brief and can be any genre, any format and use any resources to hand (even mobile phone). Films should be produced in line with Government social distancing guidelines. The deadline for submissions is 11:59 am BST on Thursday 18th June 2020. Their expert panel of judges will select three finalists to feature in a paus live screening+tipping event – where viewers can tip their favourite films. The finalists will keep 80% of their tips and the remaining 20% will be donated to the Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund for film and TV.

The Uncertain Kingdom 

The Uncertain Kingdom is a new collection of shorts released on iTunes, Amazon Video, BFI Player, Curzon Home Cinema and GooglePlay on 1st June. Climate change, migration, disability, homelessness and sexuality are just some of the subjects explored in Volumes One & Two. From comedies and dramas, to documentaries and experimental pieces, made by a mix of new talent and established names including Carol Salter (Almost Heaven) and Iggy LDN (Black Boys Don’t Cry) the two volumes present twenty short films, together offering a snapshot of the UK in 2020.

As soon as government advice allows people to gather in person again, offering the films to local organisers to host their own screenings for their communities, to watch together and discuss the ideas raised by the films.


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